Patrick picked a niche product to hone his skills in, he had to pick something that was complex enough that he would see the whole story, yet simple enough - and not critical enough - that if his day job demanded it that he could ignore it for a bit.
That rules out B2B, which is where the money is when you're a one man show.
So, now he's got his hands free, he's got his knives sharpened and he's going to do his next project, presumably at a higher level of turnover.
Some people are cautious other people are much more of a risk taking nature. I can fully sympathize with the way Patrick went about this and I would definitely not assume that this was all one big accident, it seems to me as though it was by design. He simply tried to find a way to turn his idle time in to passive income enough to get his hands free.
Running a business is about being in control, about not letting your business run you in to corners that you can not back out of, and Patrick has - as far as I can detect - succeeded admirably in his goals so far.
I have absolutely no doubt that he will do it again, I really hope that this time he'll hit one out of the park.
> I'm not saying I'm better, in many, many ways I'm a lot worse. I can't get my first product out the door yet and I've not got some crazy salary. But to call Patrick's first skill business is to do a great disservice to all those people who were in the same position he was 5 years ago and are now millionaires or multimillionaires while he's small time apart from some kudos on hacker news and Spolsky's forums.
Let's look at that 5 years from now, ok? Some people are slow but steady, some people are fast but go down as fast as they go up. Patrick has tried very hard to take the lottery element out of how he runs his business and that alone should tell you something.
Good points, but I think design is a strong word. I think it's a natural consequence of his character rather than a planned strategy.
I think Patrick loves writing, he loves writing about his business and he loves helping other people, making informed and reasonable comments. I imagine, and hope, he has had a lot of fun the last few years doing what he did and in the end it made him money too.
It's just that he could have made so much more, vast amounts more, if he'd taken a bit of risk. And every time I see him talk about business or strategy or anything that idea is screaming at the back of my mind and I judge him harsher than I should.
> It's just that he could have made so much more, vast amounts more, if he'd taken a bit of risk.
Someone down the street where I used to live won the lottery, it was just a bit of risk. I'll never win the lottery because I'm not that kind of person.
Instead I very slowly year by year move forward. Invariably when I do take risks I either lose big time or I move forward a bit, on the whole that seems to work out to a slight net positive but it hasn't been a real game changer for me.
Patrick seems to prefer 'monotonic upwards' instead of 'rollercoaster', and that's his privilege.
He might have made so much more, or he could have lost it all, who is there to know for sure.